Though we’ll admit we’re a superficial bunch, willing to sacrifice our last Rolo for the latest beauty cream or wonder mascara, we also ardently argue that not all beauty products were created equal. But whilst some things like conditioners, SPFs and specialist serums may be worth the extra spend, some – like the make-up equivalent of a middle-aged man in a sports car – are more style over substance. We give you the low-down on the hardest-working budget beauty buys that’ll keep your purse from having a breakdown.
However you try and wrap it up an eyeliner is an eyeliner. That is unless you’re Taylor Momson when kohl, similar to breathing, becomes more like a way of life. Don’t pay out on overpriced liners when high street brands have some of the best long-wear liquid and kohl formulations on the beauty block (and you’re probably going to lose it on your next night out anyway).
Beauty steals: No make-up bag should be without Rimmel Soft Kohl Eye Liner, £2.99, as well as the ridiculously good value Miss Sporty Studio Lash Liquid Liner at £1.79, which creates precision cat-eye flicks. We would be doing you a disservice not to mention E.L.F’s Brightening Eye Liner, which, like everything else in the range is a recession defying £1.50. You’re welcome.
For an act so basic as hygiene maintenance there is no such thing as ‘investment shower gel’. The main reason for shelling out on this everyday essential is the fact you are a packaging snob. But budget buys needn’t mean basic packaging.
Beauty Steals: Soap And Glory (purse-friendly sister of luxe beauty giant Bliss) Clean On Me, £5.11, and Anatomicals Natural Rose and Jasmine Body Cleanser, £5, similarly combine witty packaging with great smelling formulas. Proving that organic products can be affordable Dr Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap, £5.49, boasts fairly-traded ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging.
Mascara-the proverbial holy grail of makeup. Friends, family, strangers on the bus all readily endorse their ultimate mascara, only for you to fork out and find it makes your lashes look either stumpy or spidery. And when make-up artists recommend changing your mascara every two months, paying out doesn’t embrace our new thrifty way of life.
Beauty Steals: Even for a product as subjective as mascara, you can’t argue with Maybelline’s eponymous pink and green tube – one Great Lash, £5.19, mascara is sold every 1.7 seconds in the US. And you can’t argue with that. Max Factor’s Masterpiece Max, £7.99 is also a favourite with beauty journos and make-up artists alike for creating doe eyes, whilst Miss Sporty XX Long Mascara, 2.99 is fast becoming a cult product being both purse and lash friendly.
Thanks to polish playing a starring role on the catwalks the range of colours available has quadrupled, with affordable high -street brands proving more fashion forward with their colours than their designer counterparts. When used in conjunction with a quality base coat like No7 So Smooth Base Coat, £5.50 these polishes will keep your nails perfectly painted for days – if you’re not bored by then.
Beauty Steals: High impact colours make Models Own Nail Polish, £5, and Barry M’s Nail Paint, £2.99, the brands du jour for catwalk inspired nails, but for us fashion forward yet inherently lazy types, Bourjois 10 day Nail Polish, £5.99, will go the distance staying colour true and chip free for, yes, ten days.
Judging by the excessive amount we slather on our body moisturiser, if we constantly shelled out on three-figure-sum creams it would render us bankrupt. Keeping your skin nourished and hydrated is the main aim of the game here and budget moisturisers often include the same key ingredients like cocoa and Shea butter as their pricier hydrating counterparts.
Beauty Steals: When it comes to cult beauty products, budget body moisturisers often top the must-have lists. Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula, £3.77, is a favourite for smoothing and toning skin as well as helping reduce pre-existing stretch marks. The Body Shop’s cult Body Butter, from £5, comes in a myriad of tropical formulations whilst the equally established beauty heavyweight Nivea’s Q10 Firming Plus Body Lotion, £4.76, will whip dry, unsightly pins into shape – all for under a tenner.